I come from a family of golfers. Golf is the favorite recreation of everyone in my family, including my grandparents, my mom and dad, myself and my four siblings. Every year, we have a family reunion of sorts featuring all my relatives from my father’s side. At those gathering, the entire clan always has a sportsfest wherein each of the different families take on one another in four key sports. We always win the golf competition. The others are volleyball, ping pong and chess.
My dad told me to study chess for next year’s family sportsfest. I complained a lot at the beginning but have grown quite fond of the game. I often like to recite the history of the game to my friends and, actually, to anyone willing to listen.
Like the game of golf, chess also has a number of fathers as many countries claim to have originated the game. This has some basis especially if you note that the Arabic, Persian, Greek, Portuguese and Spanish words for chess are all derived from the Sanskrit game Chaturanga. You might also want to consider the fact that among all countries, only India had three animals in its cavalry — the horse, camel and elephant. In chess, these are believed to be represented by the knight, bishop and rook.
In addition, in the past only India had all three animals, horse, camel and elephant, in its cavalry, which represent knight, bishop and rook in chess. Also, there are a lot of similarities between the way chess is played today and the way Chaturanga was played in India during the 6th century. Historians believe the Persians later created a more popular version of the game and called it Shatranj. But there is yet another theory that claims that chess started from a game called Xiangqi that traces its roots to China during the 2nd century. there are a number of well-known scholars and historians who support the latter theory.
Eventually, the popularity of chess caught on in the west particularly in Europe as well as to the east particularly in Japan. Chess also started to spread throughout the world of Islam following the Muslim’s conquest of Persia. After some time, chess found its way to Russia (via Mongolia) where people started playing it in the 7th century. In the 10th century, the Moors introduced chess into the Iberian Peninsula as mentioned in a popular 13th century manuscript that also covered backgammon and dice, which was referred to as the Libro de los juegos. Historians say that the entry of chess into Europe is characterized by the enhancement of the queen’s powers.